Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TUESDAY, 27: DAY TWELVE - Pontremoli to Lucca 14kms

TUESDAY, JUNE 27: DAY THIRTEEN - Pontremoli to Lucca 14kms
Sil: Kathy Marion and I took a walk down the treelined lane that runs between our old farm house B&B and green fields. An elderly woman on a bicycle was picking poppies and field grasses for her husband's grave. The fields and the farmhouses are bordered by an old stone wall that encircles the property of a past Marquis of Pontremoli. (Pronounced to rhyme with Emily - emphasis on the TRE and not on the Moli). We got to the station at 8.30 and had an hour and half wait so Kathy and I went back into town to the post office,. I had a large padded envelope with my vest, Fleece jacket, Italian plugs and a few other odds and ends that I wanted to post to myself Poste Restant in Rome. Although it was a modern Post office this request was met with - first a blank stare, then frustration that I couldn’t post an item with my name on it to myself. After some heated consultation with other colleagues and a phone call to Rome, I was given triumphant confirmation that my item could in fact be posted to Rome's Central Ferme Post Office. Whether I will ever see it again remains to be seen!The train journey to Lucca was uneventdful and we found our hotel inside the old stone walls that encircle the old town. The description of the hotel was 'Art Deco' - think shabby chic and you'll have an idea of what it looked like. We were given a capacious room dominated by a large double bed which Kathy and Rayna shared. Besides another three single beds, a desk and chair, pink draylon boudoir chair and a huge wardrobe, there was still enough floor space to do the tango! There was an art deco painted border around the walls with the design repeated in the middle of the ceiling from which a 6 arm chandalier hung rather grandly. The whole affect was spoilt by Rayna and Sylvia's skimpy undies hanging from the chandalier on plastic hangars! If we activated our red flashing lights - you could have thought ‘Bordello!' The smells of deep heat, shampoo, deodorants, arnica rub and muscle rubs completed the scene. Just a few words about Lucca. Although today was a no walking day we still managed to clock up 14kms on our digi-walkers. Some of that was climbing up the 45m , 230 step tower – and down again - in Lucca. We were thrilled to find an internet cafe, booked 3 machines and posted 4 days onto our blog. Then more sightseeing and a lovely dinner of Tarte d'Erbe, and salads made in the communal kitchen on our floor.

Marion: This morning before we left Pontrmoli I decided to leave my red hat behind as I could repklace the space it took with an apple. I put my hat on top of the bin downstairs so that our hosttess could see that i was throwing it away. I did not want her to come down the road after us shouting 'You have left your hat!? After breakfast we left and walked to the station to catch our train. As we arrived, a car pulled up with opur hostess jumping out with my hat! Did we laugh! I then left it on top of a post box - and hopefully it won't come back to me a second time!

VAL: The Italians are very honest, good citizens which can be very annoying when you are trying deliberately to leave something behind. As Marion has told you about her red sunhat, a Durban beachfront special, which much to our relief she hasn't worn was destined for the 'I'm leaving this behind bin.' We are still expecting it to turn up. Int he supermercato I deliberately left two water bottle and replaced them with new full ones. As we were leaving a woman came running after us with my water bottle, next a shop assistant came running out with my stick, thank goodness the Italians are such good citizens! Lucca is so special - what a buzz! It reminds me of a Varsity town- lots of students and bicycles. Lots of history and lots of gorgeous shops. Backpacking is cramping my shopping stryle, credit card is in shock. I'm expecting my credit card company's Fraud dept to phone me any moment and advise me that my card must have been stolen by someone that isn't using it! Well I couldn't reist in one shop they had the most amazing display of masks - the kind you would wear to a masked ball - they were all made in Vienna and so authentic that they even had those that the muderer in Agatha Christie's muder novels would wear. I had to have one - I just had to! They are so light. So I did! The look of horror on the other girls faces made it even more exciting. It fits int he backpack, see? My masks walked 20kms today and no problem.

Kathy and Rayna: K & R are so pleased that they were at the back of the scribe queue today. All Kathy wants to add is that she paid E5 (R45) for the privelege of walking 230 steps up and 230 steps down an anicent tower in Lucca. Rayna who didn't run up and down the steps, asks "Are they crazy or what?"
Addendum to Tuesday by Kathy:"The pilgrims are revolting - all but one that is!" Silvia had a revolt on her hands at bedtime. Four revolting pilgrims refused to wash their clothes (as it is such a pain!) and went off to bed after dinner and a toothbrushing. All that got washed were "our smalls" and these - as you have read - were left to dry on the chandelier. Kathy had already worn her red shirt for 24 hours (yeuch!) Poor Silvia - she dutifully washed hers, crept quietly into our shared room and hung her washing up to dry. By this time the other revolters were sound asleep. In the morning when we woke up we put on our slightly used clothing and Silvia made us stand in line like cormorants in a row, while she sprayed Joy perfume under our arms. Silvia is still complaining that she now knows why she didn't sleep so well last night.

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